Blast from the Past - Subdued Edition
It's the future. I don't know if you critically huddled masses out there knew this, but in the future bad things will happen because of Microsoft (or MegaCorp, or whatever), things much worse than Y2K. In the future, MicroMegasoftCorp will make machines that are far too powerful and independent. These machines will nefariously go about subjugating humanity. It will then be up to you - the average Joe - contacted from the future through the use of a "Time Loop" to control a Battle Force Tank. Save the future, Joe, and kick ass in the name of carbon-based life forms.
Ham, pure ham, and nothing but the fermented, deviled ham. That's the stuff of which Recoil is made; rehashed, bland sci-fi concepts, old graphics, and out-of-date (ahem. . ."timeless") gameplay.
Indeed, you must control the Battle Force Tank, which can morph into a boat, hovercraft, and submarine. You drive the sucker around and blow stuff up. Exactly what stuff you should destroy is relayed to you (from the future) through badly acted and needlessly MTV-style confusing cutscenes. Gosh, EA sure does have a lot of money to burn on film and such. Why they didn't spend a bit more on making an up-to-date, quality game is beyond me. I suppose I just lack the business acumen.
You must kick ass and take names in 6 missions across landscapes that run the gamut of tropical island, volcanic island, frozen arctic, waterside town, and metropolis. Truth be told, the levels are competently designed and manage to convey a real sense of size, which helps a great deal to make up for some of Recoil's shortcomings. However, the missions are fairly short. A decent gamer should be able to beat the single player component of Recoil in a few scant hours.
Control is good, for the most part. The Battle Force Tank is controlled by using the keyboard for moving the body while aiming and turning the turret with the mouse. Disappointingly, the keyboard and mouse combo proves highly frustrating while maneuvering the submarine.
Recoil is further marred by what can only be described as aged, tepid graphics. The six levels in the game are covered by low detail textures. There are no modern special effects (such as reflections, light coronas, and chrome mapping) to speak of, and everything has a flat, plain feel. Recoil would have been impressive eye candy in 1997, when such graphics were top of the line rather than bottom of the pile. Sound fares little better. In all, the overall audio/visual effect of the game is almost painfully bland.
Of course, good gameplay can make up for poor visuals. Unfortunately, what passes for gameplay in Recoil is the most tired of arcade themes: drive a tank, shoot stuff, shoot stuff, rest your index finger while the game is paused, shoot more stuff. The high frequency of shooting stuff gives the game some excitement for the first few hours or so, but soon degenerates into mindless, repetitive drivel that is only nominally spiced up by the inclusion of Amphibious and Submarine modes of play in later levels. But by the time you get really bored you'll probably have beaten the game anyway.
If you like purely arcade madness (probably meaning you salivate whenever the word Incoming is spoken), you'll enjoy Recoil. That is, if you can get past the fact that it doesn't have any graphical legs to stand on, which was Incoming's saving grace.
In the end, Recoil is a temporarily amusing diversion to all those out there who don't care too much about graphical flair or depth of gameplay. Also, if you're stuck with an old computer, Recoil is one of the few new titles that will run acceptably. A good 3D accelerator would be well advised though.